In what ways do beliefs about creation impact the rest of theology?
The main connection between creation and the rest of theology is the question of the authority of Scripture. If we begin to question the accuracy of Genesis 1, what makes the rest of the Bible immune to the same fate? If the miracle of creation is not something we can rationally accept, why is it rational to accept the miracle of Jesus' resurrection?
There are three views, within Christianity, of the doctrine of creation. The first is that the whole universe was created in six 24-hour days. The second is the "Day-Age" view, which says that each 24-hour period was actually a longer, indeterminate span of time. The third is the "Framework View," which presents the creation account as a metaphorical framework by which the rest of the Bible is interpreted.
That the world was created in six 24-hour days has been the commonly held view among Christians for centuries. But, with the popularity of the theory of evolution and the creation vs. evolution debate, the other views have arisen. Certainly we do not want to believe one view over another based on tradition or popular opinion, nor do we want to ignore valid evidence. While we believe the six 24-hour day view is the most biblical and is also scientifically solid, the Day-Age view and Framework View can fall within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. The intent of this article is not to discuss the various views, but to give an understanding of why one's views about creation matter.
As stated above, if we cannot take Genesis literally, what prompts us to take the rest of the Bible at face value? If we capitulate on the first few chapters of Genesis, which set the stage for the remainder of the biblical narrative, how can we claim that the Bible is true and relevant for today? When discussing creation and evolution, we too often miss that the debate speaks not only of the origins of our world, but of the very way we understand our Christian faith.
Take into consideration that throughout the Bible the Genesis account is treated as having actually taken place. Jesus referred to Adam and Eve as literal people who were created male and female "from the beginning" (Matthew 19:4). Clearly, Jesus believed the literal account of creation, and the literal existence of Adam and Eve. Also, Paul used the literal Adam as a theological proof of salvation, saying: "For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:21–22). The fallenness of humanity is a result of the actions of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12). Without a literal Adam, there would not be any literal sin. Without literal sin, there is no literal salvation, nor is there a need for a literal Savior.
In this way, the entire framework of Christianity depends on one's interpretation of Genesis. It is common, because of the conflict that rages between Christianity and evolution, for Christians to back down and allow for the possibility that the Bible is wrong about creation. But these doctrines are interdependent, and to do this is to tug on the strings that hold the Scripture together, and ultimately risk unraveling the gospel itself.
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